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Growing a healthy and sustainable future

Saturday 17 July 2021 | Written by Alana Musselle | Published in Local, National

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Growing a healthy and sustainable future
Pupils from Imanuela Akatemia taking some gardening tips from Mike Tavioni’s garden which they visited for their honour roll this term - 21071411

Young gardeners from 10 primary schools around Rarotonga will come together at the end of this month to sell fresh produce they have grown in their own school gardens. Alana Musselle reports.

The Ministry of Agriculture will hold the first primary schools’ Market Day on Wednesday, July 21 at Constitution Park.

From 9am to 1pm, 10 primary schools from around Rarotonga will be present on the site showcasing and selling their very own fresh produce which they have all worked hard to grow.

Fresh produce from schools including Takitumu School, Apii Te Uki Ou, Imanuela Akatemia, Titikaveka College, St Joseph’s School, Titikaveka ECE, Rutaki School, Nikao School, Avarua School, and Arorangi School, will be available for anyone who wants to come down and support the pupils.

All proceeds go back to the individual schools.

In addition to the students’ fresh produce stalls, there will also be delicious and nutritious meals available on the site from assorted food vendors, as well as a bouncy castle to keep the little ones entertained.

The Ministry of Agriculture wants to encourage the public to support the message behind the entire initiative which is to ‘Grow a healthy and sustainable future - Akatupu i te oraanga meitaki e te tiratira tu’.

The ministry has been working with the schools for the past two terms in conjunction with Te Korero o te Orau who came on board to help purchase tools and timber to build the gardens.

Apii Avarua was the first school to take part in the gardening programme and had a sandwich day last term where students brought ingredients from home such as chicken, tuna, bread, and spreads, and then used the fresh produce from their very own gardens to fill up a healthy and nutritious sandwich.

The ministry then extended the programme to the other nine schools around Rarotonga and have been working with each of them to teach the young pupils the importance of working with the land.

Agriculture’s Apii Tumutoa wanted to highlight the importance of instilling in young people the knowledge of how to live off the land.

He shared agriculture seems to be dying out as the older generation disappears.

This has added an extra layer of urgency and importance to this initiative as the ministry wants to encourage young people to get into the industry.

“We want to teach them and show them how they can reap what they sow,” Tumutoa said.

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